27 October 2011

Pragmatics Complicated

"A photograph is a meeting place where the interests of the photographer, the photographed, the viewer, and those who are using the photographs are often contradictory. These contradictions both hide and increase the natural ambiguity of the photographic image." - John Berger
I stumbled across this remark, quoted here; I am not sure where it comes from, but it seems right. And it seems therefore that the project of developing a pragmatics of photography - that is, a conception of photography that attends to its uses by various agents for various purposes - is a terribly complex undertaking.
So, having recovered from my momentary bout of lazy and stupid, I performed a perfunctory Google search and discovered that the Berger quote comes from the Preface to John Berger & Jean Mohr. Another Way of Telling (Pantheon 1982).

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Blogger AdamJBrown said...

Brings to mind this from Barthes:

“The portrait-photograph is a closed field of forces. Four image repertoires intersect here, oppose and distort each other. In front of the lens, I am at the same time: the one I think I am, the one I want others to think I am, the one the photographer thinks I am, and the one he makes use of to exhibit his art.”
Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida, Chapter 5 (1981).

28 October, 2011 03:28  
Blogger stanley said...

Also brings this to mind:

"The photographic image presents the encounter neither from the perspective of the photographer nor from that of the photographed; it is an image obtained from the encounter itself."

— Ariella Azoulay, in The Civil Contract of Photography, 2010.

29 October, 2011 12:18  

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